Monthly Archives: February 2018

This week I have mostly been flicking through this: Once Upon a Time in Almeria by Mark Parascandola

I stumbled across Mark’s Blog about a year ago while looking into the possibility of visiting “El Condor” (the remains of the purpose built filmset Fort used for the film of the same name). His blog had a post talking about his visit to the site then going on to explain that the land owner had turned up with a gun and loosely threatened to shoot him. Obviously I was rather put off by this idea as I never trained to be a teacher in Trump’s America and would therefore be unable to overpower him. Reading on I discovered that Mark was a photographer with a fondness for the Almeria region and also a huge interest in Spain’s historical Spaghetti Western film history.

He has spent many years documenting the villages, forts and farms that are slowly being reclaimed by nature. So much so that to the untrained eye there isn’t a village with a bar, a church and a ferreteria at all where Alex Cox filmed his 1987 movie “Straight to Hell” and previous to that Charles Bronson took the lead as Chino in “Valdez the Halfbreed” in 1973 right beside the  Autovia A-92 just outside Tabernas……

……. after reading through Mark’s blog I discovered that he had book that was very close to being published featuring lots of photos of his visits and naturally I had to own one.
To cut a long and tedious story of how my mind (doesn’t) work it arrived at the beginning of this week and It is fantastic…. Lots of lovely photos of places I’ve visited and some that I haven’t  that aren’t all totally overexposed like mine always are.

Credit: Mark Parascandola

Fun Fact: The “Flagstone” Set for Sergio Leone’s 1968 Once Upon a Time in The West Movie was also used in the KLF’s 1991 White Room Film (find it here on Youtube).

If you have any interest in the Spaghetti Western genre then this is a great book to have,
It’s about £25 (find it here on Amazon)

** I’m not selling it by the way **
** I’m just informing you because I like it very much 🙂 **

BOOK INFO
Paper over Board, 10 X 12 In. / 148 Pages / 70 Color Photographs
ISBN 9781942084396

Post Office

Pop’s Cave Story and a nice bit about The Correos (Post Office)

I felt I needed to write some more but as I haven’t been over to Spain for a while I thought I’d be lazy…..

I met this Guy on Facebook who lives in my village and he seems ok (which is a bonus).
It turns out his cave is a couple of hundred yards down the Rambla from mine, he and his wife moved over from the UK a Year ago this very day…… this is their story 🙂

Pop & Gelda

After 40 years living in Kingsthorpe, raising 3 sons who are all married with children of their own, my wife and I decided to follow a dream that had long been on our minds and moved to Spain. Friends of ours had bought 2 cave houses in Andalucia, near Baza, and intended living in one and renting the other, and were happy to let us stay in their second cave while we looked for a place of our own. So on a cold, damp morning in late February we boarded a plane to Malaga, collected a rental car and drove through stunning scenery, past Granada and the snow capped Sierra Nevadas, to our temporary home – a 2 bedroomed cave with a large open fire, fairly basic cooking facilities and a bathroom with shower. Over the next few weeks we opened a bank account, bought a car, obtained our NIEs (identity documents) and looked at a number of caves in the region, some of which we liked but never quite ticked all the boxes for us. Then we were shown a 4 bedroomed cave home, with 2 bathrooms, a large wood burner, carport, good sized garden and views across a valley to distant mountains – and we fell in love with it. It came fully furnished – a great help as we brought no furniture with us, just books, records and the like. It’s a short uphill walk into the village of Cortes de Baza, with 2 small supermarkets, a bank, bakery, builder’s yard, and 5 or 6 café bars. Everyone says Buenos Dias to us as we walk around, and the market on Saturday is a bustling little affair, with vegetable, clothes, plant and shoe stalls. There is a small post office open from 9 – 11am in the week, all mail is delivered there and we call in to see if there is any post for us. Spanish lessons are given free in the town hall on a Wednesday evening, something we’re taking advantage as we feel we need to speak the language well to become part of this community which is so welcoming to us. Within an hour’s drive there is the large town of Baza, with shops selling everything we might need, beautiful lakes with watersports facilities, thermal pools where we can swim with the fishes, and everywhere we look are dramatic landscapes of cliffs, ravines, ridges, rivers and waterfalls.

It was a wrench to leave our family & friends, especially the grandchildren, but already we have had one son visit, friends coming over in a couple of weeks, two of the grandchildren booked in for a fortnight in summer, and look forward to many more visitors.

 

Correos (The Spanish Postal Service)

Here in Cortes de Baza the Correos, or Post Office, is not much larger than a broom cupboard and it’s run by Pedro, who was delighted when he found out that we shared the same name in different languages. There is no postal service to our cave so we go there a couple or so times a week to see if there’s any post for us by looking through the pile of letters Pedro hands over from the ‘Inglaterra’ section on his shelves.
Iccy: I know this Post Office well, the very first time I plucked up courage and translated all the words I thought necessary to see if there was any mail for me I was handed a bundle of about 30 letters which I duly thanked the postmaster for. Feeling very pleased with my new found bravery and the ability to make myself understood I proceeded to try and leave the premises while being shouted at by the Postmaster……not angrily but he obviously thought I must have been mad as I had tried to walk off with all the letters I now know to have been for the “English”.

Post Office

The Local Correos

One morning I got to the door of the Correos and Pedro asked ‘Tocas guitarra?’ (Do you play guitar?). I replied that I did, then he said ‘Esto debe ser para ti’ (This must be for you), and handed me a letter addressed to ‘El hombre Inglés que lleva camisas de colores brillantes y toca la guitarra, Cortes de Baza, Spain’, which translates as ‘The English man who wears brightly colored shirts and plays guitar’ Pedro was delighted that the letter had found its way to the correct recipient and asked one of the women waiting outside to take a photo of him and me and the letter. I went back to our cave, opened the letter to find it was a Father’s Day card from our youngest son, Nathan, and inside he’d written that he wanted to see how well we’d settled into our new home and whether the locals knew who we were. My wife, Gelda, and I had a laugh about it, I mentioned it on Facebook and told our friends in the village in the bar that night, but then thought no more about it.

The next morning I found that I’d been sent a link on Facebook to the Correos Facebook page, where there was the photo of Pedro and me holding the letter, and a report on how the mail had got through to the right person. The next day I was walking through the village when Jairo, who runs our favourite café bar, called me over and showed me the Spanish newspaper, Ideal.es , with a full page report on the letter and the photo. The day after this I received a Whatsapp message from Mario, who knows everyone, speaks good English, and gets things sorted out if there’s any trouble – the sort of person who crops up in any novel about Brits abroad. It was asking me to be at the Correos about 11am because an interviewer and camera team were coming from Canal Sur, the Spanish TV channel, to shoot a piece about the letter to ‘El hombre Inglés que lleva camisas de colores brillantes y toca la guitarra’. This was great fun – I put on my brightest shirt, and had to drive up to the Correos, get out, walk over and say Buenas Dias to Pedro, then they filmed Pedro talking about the letter followed by an interview with me in my best basic Spanish telling them how pleased I was to receive the letter. We watched the programme in the bar in the evening of the following day with a few of the locals who thought it was great fun, and who called me ‘El hombre famoso’. I went to the doctor earlier in the week to get my blood pressure checked – as I walked in she said ‘Ah, el hombre famoso’. It happens all over, too, even in Baza, the large town 20km away.

So what started as our son’s attempt to see whether we’d settled into the area means that nearly everyone in the village knows us – they always said Buenas Dias, but now they know my name as well, usually my nickname of Pop spread by Pedro, Jairo, and others. When we moved here 4 months ago many people said we’d bought Carlos’s cave (the previous owner), and I wondered how long it would be called that. Well now everyone knows it as Pop & Gelda’s cave – and we’re very happy that it is.